Dean Smith was sacked by Aston Villa after the 1-0 loss to Southampton – their fifth Premier League defeat in a row which leaves them 16th in the table; Villa expected to speak to at least five or six managers and are aware they would have to pay compensation for Gerrard or Martinez
Smith was relieved of his duties at Villa Park after five successive defeats in the Premier League, a poor run which culminated in the 1-0 defeat to Southampton.
Villa are expected to speak to at least five or six managers – or their representatives – as they narrow down their search.
Both Gerrard and Martinez are in work, at Rangers and Belgium respectively, and so Villa know they would have to pay compensation.
Martinez is open to the possibility of a move back to the Premier League, having been with Belgium since 2016, during which time he has taken them to No 1 in the FIFA rankings.
Gerrard, meanwhile, is a close friend of Villa CEO Christian Purslow from when the latter was managing director at Liverpool.
Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand is also on the list of possible names – he is well known by Villa sporting director Johan Lange. Hjulmand is seen as an outside option at this stage.
“Martinez of course has been Belgium boss since 2016, taking them to world No 1 in the FIFA rankings, but I understand he would be interested in potentially coming back to a management job in the Premier League.
“Steven Gerrard is a more difficult one because he’s in place at Rangers doing a very good job there. So, would Rangers be prepared to let him go? How much compensation would they demand? Is Steven Gerrard interested in coming back? We know that Gerrard is a close friend of the Villa chief executive Christian Purslow. The two men worked very closely together at Liverpool when Purslow was managing director there from 2009.
“We also expect the Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand to be on that list. He’s a close friend of Johan Lange, the Aston Villa sporting director.
“So, there are plenty of names in the frame now for Aston Villa. I expect them to narrow that down over the next few days as they speak to either these candidates or their representatives, but the news we can bring on Sky Sports News is Roberto Martinez and Steven Gerrard are very much on Aston Villa’s shortlist as possible replacements for Dean Smith.”